You may know the Braves' story: 14 consecutive playoff appearances, a copious collection of Cy Young winners, gobs of Gold Glovers, an abundance of All-Stars but only one World Series win in a decade in a half to show for it.
That's frustrating to say the least. Pistons fans and Detroit's president of basketball operations Joe Dumars must feel the same way after seven consecutive 50-win seasons, an abundance of All-Stars (Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace), some hardware (former Pistons' Ben Wallace's four Defensive Player of the Year awards while a member of the Palace guard), two Finals appearances but only one NBA title to show for it.
Now, most franchises wouldn't complain about winning an NBA title (you think Dallas wants a re-do of 2006? You bet...), but Detroit's a tough town with a tough exec in Dumars. That could be the biggest difference between the two franchises. The Braves have stuck with one man -- Bobby Cox -- as manager for 18 years, where Michael Curry becomes the fourth Pistons coach in eight seasons.
After losing in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight Playoffs, Dumars dismissed Flip Saunders, who had 176 wins and .715 winning percentage in the regular season, and had this to say about those All-Star stalwarts on the roster.
"I'm not going to sit here and make Flip the scapegoat," president of basketball operations Joe Dumars said Tuesday. "Everybody is in play.
"There are no sacred cows here. You lose that sacred-cow status when you lose three straight years."
But if you look at the Pistons roster now, Dumars didn't mooooove any of those sacred cows, and he won't apologize to them or anyone else for floating the idea.
Still, what Dumars has on the Pistons roster is considerable talent and experience. Chauncey Billups will be solid and, on occasion, spectacular at the point. Richard Hamilton still comes off screens better than any player in the NBA and will wear his opponent down running off said picks. Tayshaun Prince will play lockdown D and come up with a huge block more often than not. Rasheed Wallace will provide his usual mix of crazy/brilliant/moody play. Antonio McDyess will provide 20 solid minutes and his eight points and eight boards. (Or not...).
Yet, as great as consistency may be, Dumars expects excellence. Winning in the regular season may get you homecourt advantage in the playoffs, but if you can't use it to your advantage, what good does it do you?
"It was just a matter of time," Stackhouse said. "Everybody who knew Michael from his playing days knew this is where he would end up.
"He's going to do great for Detroit because he already has great rapport with those players, who will give him a different kind of respect because he played in the league."
If anything, Curry told Pistons.com's Keith Langlois that he considers himself a sponge when it comes to basketball knowledge. Curry also knows the learning curve will be small because he can trust those time-tested All-Stars, especially Billups, to make sure things go right.
The big question is: how will Curry react when things go wrong? That will be the truest test.
Until then, maybe a different voice will get the Pistons back to the Finals because Dumars has shown he won't accept more of the same.
-- Rob Peterson